A dangerous drive: Man says brakes of F-150 failed along I-40

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Knoxville man said a problem with his 2016 Ford F-150, addressed in recalls for previous years of the same model, caused his brakes to go out while he was driving down Interstate 40 with his four-year-old son in the car.

"I tried to press the brake and it went to the floor. I'm lucky I knew what to do, because a lot can happen at 70 miles per hour," Brian Wallace said. "I grabbed the emergency brake, got us slowed down and pulled over to the side of the interstate."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a problem with brake fluid leaking into the brake booster from a fluid reservoir. This fluid should be in the brake master cylinder, according to NHTSA Action Number RQ16001.

Wallace said the problem begins as though the truck's brake fluid is low.

"We drove down the road, and I noticed the brakes giving a little bit. When we were leaving the parking lot, I noticed the brakes were a little looser," he said.

NHTSA's details are strikingly similar to the experience Wallace said he encountered.

"The 2016 complaints allege a sudden and complete loss of brakes without the brake warning lamp illumination and low brake fluid level," NHTSA's report states.

2013 and 2014 Ford F-150s were recalled in May 2016, but those are the only two years the NHTSA report lists.

"Ford Motor Company issued a safety recall (16V-345) to address loss of the front brakes in certain model year (MY) 2013 and 2014 Ford F-150 pickup trucks with 3.5L engines (covering those built from August 2013 to August 2014)," NHTSA states.

The investigation into the problem started in September 28, 2016, but is still listed as an "Open Investigation."

WVLT News reached out to NHTSA to ask how close the investigation is to completion, but NHTSA did not immediately address that question.